The following is a reflection given by Pope Benedict XVI shortly after he was elected to the papacy in 2005. I found it to be very touching, especially as we pray for the cardinals, one of whom will most likely be elected as our new Pope over the next couple of days. Enjoy!
“At the beginning of my journey in a ministry that I never even imagined and for which I felt inadequate, all of this gives me great strength and assistance. May God reward you for this!
When, little by little, the trend of the voting led me to understand that, to say it simply, the axe was going to fall on me, my head began to spin. I was convinced that I had already carried out my life’s work and could look forward to ending my days peacefully. With profound conviction I said tot he Lord: Do not do this to me! You have younger and better people at your disposal, who can face this great responsibility with greater dynamism and greater strength.
I was then very touched by a brief note written to me by a brother cardinal. He reminded me that on the occasion of the Mass for John Paul II, I had based my homily, starting from the Gospel, on the Lord’s words to Peter by the Lake of Gennesaret: “Follow me!” I spoke of how again and again, Karol Wojtyla received this call from the Lord, and how each time he had to renounce much and to simply say: Yes, I will follow you, even if you lead me where I never wanted to go.
This brother cardinal wrote to me: Were the Lord to say to you now, “Follow me,” then remember what you preached. Do not refuse! Be obedient in the same way that you described the great Pope, who has returned to the house of the Father. This deeply moved me. The ways of the Lord are not easy, but we were not created for an easy life, but for great things, for goodness.
Thus, in the end I had to say “yes.” I trust in the Lord and I trust in you, dear friends. A Christian is never alone.”